Contract vs. Covenant


In our sermon this past Sunday, we looked at the difference between a covenant and a contract.

In litigious America, we’re very familiar with contracts.

The strength of the contract rests on the terms one is obligated to keep.  The promise made to you in a contract becomes null and void if you fail to meet the requirements.

If you sign a lease and break the rules, you get evicted.

If you sign an employment contract and violate a clause, you get fired.

If you want to switch to Verizon, you can’t without paying a boatload of cash because AT&T owns you for another year and a half.

A contract can be slavery with a signature.

But the strength of the covenant lies in the promise of the one making it.

In a covenant, there can be forgiveness.

In a covenant, there can be unlimited grace.

In a covenant, there can be freedom.

The concept of covenant is central to the biblical narrative.  Covenants are the steel framework through which the story of the gospel, in all its splendor, is built.

In the book of Exodus, we are introduced to the “Mosaic covenant.”

The Mosaic covenant is not a blank check.  It, like a contract, contains conditions on the part of the people - the Law.  God gave the Law to the mediator Moses, who told the people “all the rules” (Ex. 24:3).  They agreed to obey them.

They didn’t.

It’s crazy how fast they didn’t.

But God did not renege on his promise as a result of their rebellion.  Had this been a contract, Israel would have been “fired” as God’s people because they violated the terms.

But they weren’t.

God honored his word.

And as an act of mercy, God made them another promise - that a new covenant - a better one - would be coming (Jer. 31:31-34).

This covenant would not be on stone tablets, but hearts.

This covenant would be global.

This covenant would be eternal.

We live in this covenant.

The strength of this “New Covenant” also resides in the promise of the God who made it, but the New Covenant is better (Heb. 8:6-7).

There is a better mediator.

There is a better sacrifice.

There is a better reward.

The assurance of our salvation does not rest in our ability to perfectly maintain the requirements of the New Covenant.  Assurance rests in the God who has initiated it.

And God has promised that he will never renege - because it has been sealed with his own blood.